January 31, 2011

Montreal Games to be managed under auspices of “QPBA”

As previously reported, the Montreal Highland Games, one of the more popular events in eastern Canada, decided to bring back competition to the August 2011 event, and the planning committee has now revealed that it intends to do so working with the Quebec Pipers & Drummers Association, an organization formed in 2008.

The QPBA’s running the event would replace the sanctioning of the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario, which had coordinated the piping, drumming and band competitions almost since the games’ inception, with the exception of 2010 when the event replaced competitions with a selection of mini-concerts by top-grade pipe bands.

Montreal Games organizer Kirk Johnstone also said that his intention is to hold only pipe band competitions and no solo events, taking the shape of a Scottish-style bands-only approach.

“We feel that the band only format is in keeping with most games in Scotland where there are very few events that offer both solo and band competitions,” Johsntone said.  “This will also give most competitors a chance to relax a little Sunday morning after two busy days at Maxville.”

The Montreal Games are traditionally held on the Sunday following the Friday-Saturday North American Championships at Maxville, Ontario, about an hour’s drive from Montreal. The combination of events comprise the biggest weekend in North America for competing pipers and drummers.

Johnstone indicated that the band competitions at the Montreal Games will be held on a “multi-level” judges positioned at the front, and that band introductions will be from a standing position. He said that events for all grades except Grade 1 are planned, and that one Grade 1 band will be hired to perform a concert.

“Our belief is that this can be done with one competition stage with a panel of four or five judges only,” Johnstone added.  “We have contacted authorized judges that are within a day’s drive of Montreal to keep costs under control.”

Johnstone is the President of the Quebec Pipers & Drummers Association, and he confirmed that the QPBA was formally acknowledged by ANAPBA Chair Jeff Mann. Johnstone said that his association has “not really done anything up until now except talk amongst our members.  We currently have three bands signed up, and their individual members.”

PPBSO President Charlie MacDonald had not yet responded to pipes|drums’ request to comment on the matter.

Should the Montreal Highland Games not work with the PPBSO, the Ontario society’s schedule of sanctioned outdoor events would be reduced to seven competitions, with Georgetown, Embro, Kincardine, Cambridge, Maxville, Fergus and Almonte so far confirmed for the 2011 summer circuit.


  1. It seems to me this is another indication that we as competitors need to move toward funding our own competitions. It’s not reasonable to expect the highland games to pay for them. They should pay something if they want massed bands, but apart from that, we should be paying for the rest, and thank the games for letting us use their location and facilities.



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